ENCINITAS — Courtie Miller of Torrey Pines High School and Scott Oatsuall of El Camino had never played against each other. They had only heard stories of the other before their teams met in the championship game of the Lt. James Mitchell tournament Tuesday night at San Dieguito High.
The two developed a friendly rivalry that became more intense as the game progressed. Oatsuall and Miller took control of their respective teams and as each player went so went his team.
Miller took control when it counted. Miller made his trademark move, a drive to the middle and then an off-balance shot, between several defenders with 2:55 to play to give Torrey Pines the lead en route to a 79-76 victory.
Miller was the tournament's most valuable player, and Oatsuall was named to the all-tournament team.
"It was like bulls locking horns," said Oatsuall, who had 23 points. "I have a lot of respect for him."
Said Miller: "That guy Oatsuall is the best I've played against so far. He was banging me around in there."
Miller made a free throw with 20 seconds left to seal the victory. With Torrey Pines leading, 78-76, Miller was fouled and made one of two.
Miller finished with 33 points, but it was Kevin Freil who made a shot in the middle as the Torrey Pines bench was yelling for a timeout that broke a 76-76 tie and put the Falcons (11-0) ahead for good.
Oatsuall, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, had put El Camino ahead, 76-75, with a tip-in with 55 seconds left.
He had a chance to give El Camino another lead after Freil's shot, but he missed a jumper with 21 seconds remaining. James Noble fouled Miller and the game was over.
"That was the most intense game I've played," Miller said. "We've been working so hard. They were ranked above us (in one newspaper poll) so we wanted to prove we were the better team. I think we did."
Oatsuall, a guard who transfered to El Camino from Tennessee before the season, got his team off to a quick start. He dunked off the opening tipoff and scored eight points in the first 2 1/2 minutes. At the same time, Oatsuall held Miller scoreless. The combination helped El Camino take a 23-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
El Camino led, 33-25, at one point. With Torrey Pines' Kevin Flannagan on the bench with three fouls, Miller got hot and helped Torrey Pines reel off 10 straight points to take a 35-33 lead just before the half.
In other Mitchell tournament games:
Vista 56, Yuma 52 (OT)--Clarence Reese hit two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory for Vista (7-3) in the third-place game. Reese tied the game in regulation at 48-48 with a three-point basket with 38 seconds remaining. Yuma's Cliff Morrison missed a three-point shot with four seconds remaining in regulation. Morrison, who finished with 16 points, hit a three-pointer to pull Yuma to within 54-52 in overtime, but Reese then made both his free throws. Art Simintal led Vista with 17 points and Reese, who had 6 points in overtime, had 16.
Escondido 65, Ramona 49--Paul Baldwin scored 24 points and Jason Hendrickson added 16 to lead Escondido in the fifth-place game. Escondido trailed, 25-24, at halftime but outscored Ramona, 21-8, in the third quarter. Jason McClaneghan led Ramona with 17 points.
Orange Glen 67, Central (El Centro) 54--Shawn Macklin scored 21 points and Cree Morris added 14 to lead Orange Glen in the seventh-place game. Orange Glen led, 28-21, at halftime. Alfredo Valenzuela paced Central with 18 points.
San Dieguito 72, Oceanside 48--Jeff Zevely scored 27 points and Jack Minger added 25 to lead San Dieguito to a third-place finish in the consolation bracket. San Dieguito led, 35-22, at halftime and never let the defending 2-A champions back into the game. Oceanside was led by Donald Barner's 17 points.
Patrick Henry 67, Hilltop 58--Five players scored in double figures to lead Patrick Henry (4-1). Terrence Hamilton had 16 points and Danny Kotnik 14 for Patrick Henry, which led, 31-24, at halftime. John Spence and Greg Edwards scored 13 each for Patrick Henry. Hilltop's Mark Dirksen led all scorers with 26 points.
Briefly--Mt. Carmel 57, Mount Miguel 44; El Capitan 69, Morse 68.
Poway 68, Point Loma 63--David Delaney scored a game-high 24 points to lead Poway. Jim Griffith led Point Loma with 15 points. Poway shot 17 of 23 from the line, and Point Loma was 15 of 30.
Madison 67, Serra 50--Andre Mitchell scored 16 points to lead Madison, which led, 32-21, at halftime. Keith Ladue scored 14 points for Serra.
University City 70, Castle Park 62--University City won the game at the free throw line, making 23 of 38 shots. Castle Park was 10 of 17 from the line. Pat Tabor led University City with 20 points. Cesar Guttierez led Castle Park with 16 points.